Out of the Frying Pan
by Jessica Polko
On Tuesday, the National Baseball Hall of Fame will announce the Class of 2003. Today you can read Rotohelp's opinion of the candidates and view the ballot we would submit if eligible. Over the next two days we will look at the player and composite ballots on which the Veterans Committee will be voting.
Please take a look at our 2002 article for an overview of our standards. In the alphabetical review of candidates below, I have linked to last year's commentary for players on this year's ballot who remain eligible after receiving at least 5% of the vote in 2002. In most cases, I have nothing further to say with regards to these players, but if something has changed in our opinion then I have noted the alteration
Bert Blyleven received a vote from Rotohelp in 2002.
Brett Butler rates serious consideration as one of the top leadoff hitters of his era. However, he was not a dominant force as an outfielder. While he's somewhat recognized for his intelligence on the basepaths and successful fight with cancer, he still fails to earn our vote this year.
Gary Carter received a vote from Rotohelp in 2002.
Vince Coleman nailed fame with his ostentatious base stealing, though he loses character points for the infamous firecracker incident. He had a few flashy seasons but failed to post career numbers worthy of the Hall.
Darren Daulton's teammates on the Phillies and Marlins may have found him invaluable in their World Series runs, however his frequent injury problems sufficiently limited his career production to the point where he does not deserve a place in the Hall of Fame.
Mark W. Davis may have won both the Cy Young and the Rolaids Relief award in 1989, but the remainder of his career does not constitute Hall of Fame consideration.
Andre Dawson received a vote from Rotohelp in 2002.
Sid Fernandez represented Hawaii well in the 1986 World Series. However, that one contribution does not make his otherwise ordinary career worthy of memoriam in the Hall of Fame.
Rich Gossage received a vote from Rotohelp in 2002.
Rick Honeycutt had a solid career that included several playoff appearances but not one that stands out as worthy of the Hall of Fame.
Danny Jackson finished second in the Cy Young voting in 1988 and had several good seasons, but he did not sustain the extended success necessary to merit election to the Hall of Fame.
Tommy John received a vote from Rotohelp in 2002.
Jim Kaat received a vote from Rotohelp in 2002.
Darryl Kile is immediately eligible for the ballot due to his death. However, while the pitcher certainly had an impact on the game and was respected by his colleagues, his baseball performance does not warrant a vote.
Jack Morris received a vote from Rotohelp in 2002 but failed to make our 2003 ballot. With the election of Ozzie Smith, we had room for one player open on our ballot without dropping anyone. However, we found two new players that we felt deserved election, which bumped Jack Morris from our ballot. If he remains eligible, Morris will receive consideration from us in future years.
Eddie Murray's career is an example of steady productivity. Many people are tempted to discount players for stats that are viewed to have accumulated due to longevity rather than outstanding production, but Murray rolled well past his 3000th hit and finished his career with 3255. Rather than slumping in his sophomore season, Murray made his first of eight All-Star teams in 1978, a season after winning the AL Rookie of the Year. While he never won an MVP, he finished in the top 10 in voting 8 times despite a poor relationship with the media. Murray clearly stands out as worthy of induction into the Hall of Fame and receives our vote this year.
Tony Pena will have to earn his spot in the Hall of Fame as a manager. While Pena played for five All-Star teams and accumulated four Gold Gloves, his offensive performance does not measure up to Hall of Fame standards.
Ryne Sandberg dominated at his position for a decade while earning the 1984 MPV, making 10 All-Star games, and winning 9 Gold Gloves. He probably had the right idea when he retired in 1994, as he no longer felt he was performing up to his own standards. However those that wear #23 in Chicago have difficulty adjusting to retirement, and he went out stronger than many players at the end; his last few seasons fail to detract from the bulk of his career. Sandberg belongs in the Hall of Fame for his achievements and receives our vote this year.
Lee Smith currently holds the record for most career saves at 478. However, we do not consider saves to indicate any particular excellence by themselves, and we expect someone like Trevor Hoffman to break Smith's record in the next few years. Consequently, given the otherwise routine nature of Smith's career, we do not feel he deserves a place in the Hall of Fame.
Bruce Sutter received a vote from Rotohelp in 2002.
Danny Tartabull never focused on much beyond hitting for power. Who knows how his career might have ended if he had stayed under the tutelage of Hal McRae, who oversaw his best season in 1991, however he retired with the Hall of Fame substantially outside his reach.
Mickey Tettleton accomplished a lot offensively for a catcher, and popularized Froot Loops for aspiring power hitters, but his career still fails to meet Hall of Fame standards.
Alan Trammell received a vote from Rotohelp in 2002.
Fernando Valenzuela is the only pitcher to ever win both the Rookie of the Year and Cy Young awards in the same year. He followed that rookie performance with several strong seasons, appearing on six consecutive All-Star teams. However, heavy workloads led to arm problems and his career numbers do not warrant induction into the Hall of Fame.
Mitch Williams might have struck out a batter in almost every inning he pitched, but he walked nearly as many hitters. Wild Thing was an interesting player but not a Hall of Famer.
Todd Worrell had a very respectable career as a closer for St. Louis and LA, but he is not Hall of Fame material.
1. Bert Blyleven
2. Gary Carter
3. Andre Dawson
4. Rich "Goose" Gossage
5. Tommy John
6. Jim Kaat
7. Eddie Murray
8. Ryne Sandberg
9. Bruce Sutter
10. Alan Trammell
Click here to read the previous article.
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